Smart Food Choices ‘Key to a Healthy Barbeque’

9ec7de19-b9e2-40da-acf6-7f6c1a38fae3Choosing healthy foods to barbeque – and even barbequing with marinades instead of high-fat sauces — can help reduce your risk of heart disease as well as stroke, experts say.

It is true that you are what you eat.   Your food choices affect your intake of calories, cholesterol and sodium.  You can also check your blood pressure and cholesterol with moderate physical activity , not smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight.

One of the golden rules of eating healthy at restaurants is to choose “grilled” foods over “fried” choices. That’s because grilled food is generally a healthier choice — there’s no batter coating or dripping grease.

Besides, there’s something about the act of grilling that just makes food look and taste fantastic. Is it the smoky flavor, the fun flavors of marinades, the grill lines that form on the food, or the fresh taste that comes from cooking something over high heat for a short amount of time? Try all of the above!

I hate to burst your “isn’t-grilling-fun?” bubble, but the way I see it, there are two nutritional downsides to grilling.

Many common barbeque favorites, such as pork, ribs and even corn on the cob, are often slathered with rich sauces that are high in calories, fats and salt. There are, however, healthier ways to barbeque that are also delicious, according to Dr. Vivienne Halpern, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery.

“Grilling lean meats and vegetables without heavy sauces are wonderful for the barbeque,” explained Halpern in a society news release. “These can become your family’s new favorites.” A fresh salad and watermelon for dessert will make the meal complete, she suggested.

When firing up the grill, instead of barbequing hot dogs and hamburgers, Halpern suggested choosing lean proteins that are lower in fat, calories and cholesterol, such as chicken, fish, turkey, sirloin, turkey, buffalo or veggie burgers. Halpern also pointed out that olive oil-based marinades and lemon juice are healthier ways to add flavor to grilled meats and vegetables.

Healthy food choices and even barbecue grill with marinated sauces instead of high fat content may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, experts say.

Halpern’s recommendations underscore the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines urge Americans to eat more of Fruits and vegetables, Whole grains, Low-fat milk products, Lean meats, beans, eggs, nuts. Fish, Foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugar

Americans can also control their blood pressure and cholesterol, Halpern added, with moderate exercise (such as walking 30 minutes each day), not smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight.”

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